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2011 MLB Draft: Recap and Draftees who Didn’t Sign

Tuesday August 16, 2011

 

 

Rob Bland (Intern- MLB Reports):  Amongst all the madness that was the Draft Signing Deadline, I first have to say congratulations to Jim Thome for hitting the 599th and 600th home runs of his illustrious career.  He is only the eighth player in MLB history to reach that mark.

There were many signings that went down to the wire last night, and most players in the early rounds signed.  There were five Major League deals signed from this draft.  The Washington Nationals gave pitcher Matt Purke a 4-year, $4.4M deal out of the third round.  Second overall pick Danny Hultzen, the left-handed pitcher from Virginia University selected by the Seattle Mariners was given 5 years and a guarantee of $8.5M.  It was previously reported that the Arizona Diamondbacks gave RHP and third overall pick Trevor Bauer a 4 year, $7M deal.  High school pitcher Dylan Bundy was given five years and $6.225M from the Baltimore Orioles and Rice University’s Anthony Rendon was given four years and $7.2M as the most polished bat in the draft by the Washington Nationals.  Top pick Gerrit Cole was given an $8M bonus by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

However, there were three players in the first two rounds who did not sign, which will result in the teams who selected them receiving a compensation pick in next year’s draft.  First of those was RHP Tyler Beede.   Known to be extremely tough to sign, the Toronto Blue Jays selected him 21st overall.  Beede’s talent alone could have taken him into the top 10 picks, but his lofty demands as well as his desire to play for Vanderbilt University dropped him down to the Blue Jays.  It was reported that the final offer The Blue Jays offered was in the $2.3M range, but Beede did not budge from his demands.  In a tweet from his Twitter handle @TylerBeede, he said “g-d has plans for me and that is college first.”  Beede will look to follow in the footsteps of recent first round pitchers from Vanderbilt; David Price and Jeremy Sowers.   Beede was one of my picks that would come down to the wire, and I said that it would take close to $3M to sign him.  The Blue Jays will now pick 22nd in the 2012 draft.

North Carolina State University will get their coveted catching signee, as the San Diego Padres were unable to sign switch hitter Brett Austin.  The first supplemental round pick, 54th overall, has plus speed for a catcher, being clocked at less than 6.9 seconds in a 60-yard dash.  He has a quick release and routinely has a pop time (throwing the ball home to second as if a runner were stealing) under 2 seconds.  He has quick feet and a quick bat, although he has more bat speed from the right side of the plate.  With the Padres already locking up catcher Austin Hedges for $3M, they felt as though Austin was expendable, and did not offer a contract near his demands.  The Padres will choose 55th in the 2012 draft.

When the New York Yankees selected college junior Sam Stafford in the second round, 88th overall, it was widely believed that the University of Texas Longhorns had lost their top two pitchers.  Taylor Jungmann was selected 12th overall and signed with the Milwaukee Brewers for $2.525M.  However, talks with the Yankees hit a snag over parts of his physical, and Stafford was never offered a contract around the slot value.  Stafford was 6-2 with a 1.77 ERA in 81 1/3 innings this past season at UT.  The left-handed pitcher has had consistency issues with fastball command, but pitches in the 90-93 mph range.  His curveball and change-up are both works in progress and he shows flashes of plus potential in both.  The Yankees will select 89th in the 2012 draft.

The biggest surprise to me was that the Pittsburgh Pirates were able to sign Josh Bell.  It did not take a Major League contract, and only $5M to pull him away from the University of Texas.  This was much less than originally predicted, and his huge demands seem to have just been posturing.  The Pirates signed both of their top picks for a total of $13M, which in itself would have been the most money spent by one team in draft history.

Other notable signings were second round pick LHP Daniel Norris of the Toronto Blue Jays at $2.5M, 14th round pitcher Dillon Maples of the Chicago Cubs at $2.5M, and 6th round catcher Nicky Delmonico of the Baltimore Orioles at $1.525M.

 

 

***Today’s feature was prepared by our Intern, Rob Bland.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Rob on Twitter.***

 

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

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MLB Draft Signing Deadline: Who Will Sign By August 15th

Friday August 12, 2011

 

 

Rob Bland (Intern- MLB Reports):   With the August 15 deadline for all 2011 MLB draftees to sign, players and teams are getting down to the wire with negotiations.  Only two of the top ten picks have been signed, right-handed pitcher Trevor Bauer, and second baseman Cory Spangenberg by the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres, respectively.  Of the 33 first round picks, 9 have signed, as well as 14 of the 27 picks in the supplemental first round.  It is expected that most of the picks from the first round will go down to the last hour, if not minute.  However, there is a lot of speculation about who will not sign, and the fans of each team are hoping and praying their team will get their guy.  Some players come into the draft with lofty expectations and high estimates of signing bonus money.  As a result, many of the lower budget franchises stay away from these players, and draft “safe” players, who will sign for a more reasonable price.

The Oakland Athletics’ GM Billy Beane was made famous through the book “Moneyball”, which portrayed the club as a bottom feeder organization financially.  They had to pick lesser talents in order to sign all their draft picks.  They shied away from the big “sexy” names on draft boards and targeted players with specific skill sets.  Other teams who have done this in the past to varying degrees of success are the Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals.  In the last couple of years, these organizations have turned their philosophies around, drafting tough to sign players with higher ceilings, and ending up signing most of them.  Today will highlight a few of the players drafted who will be tougher than others to sign.

From this year’s draft, one of the players who was known to be extremely difficult to sign was Josh Bell.  On talent alone, he was rated as an early first round pick, yet dropped to the second round to the Pittsburgh Pirates.  He had sent a letter to Major League Baseball advising teams not to draft him on account that he wanted to attend the University of Texas.  Some have said this was just a bargaining tool to simply add more leverage to his situation, while others think he will not sign under any circumstances.  It has been predicted that it will take a minimum of $10M and a Major League contract in order to sign him.  I feel that the Pirates are an extreme long shot to sign Bell, and he will attend U of T and be a Longhorn for the next three years.

High school right-handed pitcher Tyler Beede could have been a top 10 pick, with his 95 mph fastball and devastating change-up.  Beede was widely known to be seeking a bonus upwards of $3-4M.  The Toronto Blue Jays and their new management have made it a point to take the best player available when they it is their turn to select a player in the draft.  So, when it came to their turn as the 21st selection, the Jays did not hesitate to choose Beede, who has said it will come down to money in the long run.  I believe the Jays will sign him in the final minutes for close to $3M.

With the 5th overall pick, the Kansas City Royals had a tough decision to make.  Outfielder Bubba Starling, a hometown kid from Kansas, was widely considered the top prep offensive talent in the draft was still on the board.  Starling has a scholarship to the University of Nebraska to play both football and baseball.  It is very likely that a bonus upwards of $8M will be what it takes for Starling to sign with KC on August 15.  Expect this deal to get done.

Gerrit Cole, the flame throwing right-handed pitcher from UCLA was taken by the Pirates first overall in the draft.  Cole has reached 102 mph on radar guns and routinely hits triple digits.  Cole has yet to sign, but is widely expected to join the Pirates.  A Major League deal for 4 years and $8M or so is likely.

Rice University has been known to producing top talent, as witnessed by having eight first round picks in the last 11 years, most notably when Phil Humber and Jeff Niemann went 3rd and 4th overall in the 2004 draft.  Another first rounder from Rice was Lance Berkman in 1997.  So when one of the top three candidates for the first overall pick came down to an infielder from Rice, who just happened to win the Dick Howser Trophy, (essentially the Heisman Award for college baseball players), nobody was surprised.  Anthony Rendon may not have above average speed or the best glove, but he has an above average arm and was considered by most to be the best hitter in the country.  Rendon dropped to #6 to the Washington Nationals due to signability concerns but should sign for $4M plus.

Shortstops with ultra talent often get huge signing bonuses and Cleveland Indians’ first pick (8th overall), Francisco Lindor will be no exception.  Lindor has the talent to warrant a $3M bonus, but should hold out for more.  The Indians tend to shy away from this kind of pick, but the talent speaks for itself and I believe the Indians will go as high as $3.5M to sign the talented shortstop.

There has arguably not been a better high school pitcher in the last decade than flame throwing Dylan Bundy.  The right-hander has reached 100 mph and has 2 plus secondary pitches.  His high school pitching numbers are straight out of a video game.  71 innings, 2 earned runs. TWO!  He also had 158 strikeouts to 5 walks. FIVE WALKS!  Good for a 31.6:1 K:BB ratio.  Oh, and the fact that he can also hit, as evidenced by his 11 home runs and 54 RBI in only 105 at-bats doesn’t hurt.  The University of Texas commit could command a Major League contract and $6-8M.  He should sign; my guess is $6.5M.

 

Here is the breakdown of the entire 2011 first round of picks, with players in bold having already signed:

1 Gerrit Cole RHP Pittsburgh Pirates
2 Danny Hultzen LHP Seattle Mariners
3 Trevor Bauer RHP Arizona Diamondbacks – ML deal 4/$7M
4 Dylan Bundy RHP Baltimore Orioles
5 Bubba Starling OF Kansas City Royals
6 Anthony Rendon 3B Washington Nationals
7 Archie Bradley RHP Arizona Diamondbacks
8 Francisco Lindor SS Cleveland Indians
9 Javier Baez SS Chicago Cubs
10 Cory Spangenberg 2B San Diego Padres – $1.86M
11 George Springer OF Houston Astros
12 Taylor Jungmann RHP Milwaukee Brewers
13 Brandon Nimmo OF New York Mets
14 Jose Fernandez RHP Florida Marlins
15 Jed Bradley LHP Milwaukee Brewers
16 Chris Reed LHP LA Dodgers
17 C.J. Cron Jr. 1B LA Angels – $1.467M
18 Sonny Gray RHP Oakland Athletics – $1.54M
19 Matt Barnes RHP Boston Red Sox
20 Tyler Anderson LHP Colorado Rockies
21 Tyler Beede RHP Toronto Blue Jays
22 Kolten Wong 2B St. Louis Cardinals – $1.3M
23 Alex Meyer RHP Washington Nationals
24 Taylor Guerrieri RHP Tampa Bay Rays
25 Joe Ross RHP San Diego Padres
26 Blake Swihart C Boston Red Sox
27 Robert Stephenson RHP Cincinnati Reds
28 Sean Gilmartin LHP Atlanta Braves – $1.13M
29 Joe Panik SS San Francisco Giants – $1.116M
30 Levi Michael SS Minnesota Twins
31 Mikie Mahtook OF Tampa Bay Rays
32 Jake Hager SS Tampa Bay Rays – $963K
33 Kevin Matthews LHP Texas Rangers – $936K

 

I think that although you can’t be sure about these kinds of things, my gut feeling is that every first rounder this year will actually sign by August 15th.  I also predict that at least one signing will come minutes after the deadline, probably a Scott Boras client, and the league will allow the deal to pass.

 

 

 

***Today’s feature was prepared by our Intern, Rob Bland.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Rob on Twitter.***

 

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

August 15th Deadline to Sign MLB Draft Picks: 1 Week Away

Monday August 8, 2011

 

 

MLB reports:  A popular topic on the Reports is the annual MLB Draft.  Readers love to learn about baseball prospects and future stars.  On June 6th, we summarized the first-round MLB selections and analyzed each player as selected by their respective club.  With the excitement of the draft still in the air, the August 15th deadline to sign each drafted player is only 1 week away.

A quick recap of the draft rules for everyone.  Players that were drafted by MLB teams this year must sign with their respective club by August 15th.  If unsigned, the player will enter next year’s draft if eligible.  In order to re-select the same player in a subsequent year, the team would need the permission of the previously drafted player. 

Another twist to the draft is that if a team is not successful in signing a pick by August 15th, the team would receive a compensation pick in the following year’s draft.  For a player drafted in the first or second round that goes unsigned, the team would receive the same slot pick the following year as compensation plus one.  For a player not signed in the third round, a compensation pick would be given in a supplemental round between the third and fourth rounds.  So for example, the National drafted Aaron Crow with the 9th overall pick, 1st round of the 2008 MLB draft.  When Crow did not sign, the National received as compensation the 10th overall pick in the 2009 draft, used to draft current closer Drew Storen, in addition to their existing 1st round pick (1st overall, which was used to take phenom Stephen Strasburg).  However, if a team is unable to sign the player taken with a compensatory pick, the team would not receive another compensation pick in following years.  Thus a team gets one chance to make-up a pick, so they better be sure they draft a signable player.

The story of signing MLB draft picks does not usually boil down to who signed, but rather who did not sign.  Draftees usually wait to the final hour to sign their contracts, minutes to the midnight deadline.  Sizeable contracts are handed out at the deadline, as players and agents attempt to one-up one another.  With the current MLB collective bargaining agreement set to expire on December 11, 2011, players and agents realize that future rookie contracts may be limited in a hard-cap, set-salary structure arrangement.  Thus many players would be well advised to sign their first professional contracts this year, rather than face the risk of the unknown future salary structure of rookies.

The biggest contract given to a 1st round pick this year so far has been Trevor Bauer, who signed a 4-year, $7 million contract with the Diamondbacks.  Other 2011 1st round picks to sign contracts already include Cory Spangenberg with the Padres, C.J. Cron with the Angels, Sonny Gray with the Athletics, Kolten Wong with the Cardinals, Sean Gilmarten with the Braves, Joe Panik with the Giants, Jake Hager with the Rays and Kevin Matthews with the Rangers.  To keep up-to-date on the 2011 1st round and supplemental MLB Draft picks signings, please click onto MLB Trade Rumors, a great baseball site that is maintaining a draft pick signing page.

As August 15th continues to approach, fans will continue to ask if and when the Pirates will sign Gerrit Cole, the 1st overall selection in this year’s draft.  Dylan Bundy of the Orioles, Bubba Starling of the Royals, Anthony Rendon of the Nationals and so forth also remain out there.  For all the anxious people worrying as to which players will sign, let us help alleviate your concerns.  The majority of the top picks will sign with their squads before the deadline and will get good contracts.  We will continue to cover the signing deadline and file a report when the final numbers are in.  The signing period is like a game of musical chairs with a great deal of money being thrown around with pre-arranged partners.  It will be interesting to see which draft picks are left standing without a contract in hand when the bell strikes midnight next week.

 

 

 

Please e-mail us at: MLBreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

The 2011 MLB Draft: Recap of the Results, 1st Round Picks and Future Stars

Monday June 6, 2011

MLB reports:  After months of speculation, the 2011 MLB Draft arrived.  One of the most debated drafts in years, many of the players were known but where they would be drafted remained a mystery right up until today.  After Washington drafted Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper the last two years with the top overall pick, who would go #1 this year was shrouded in secrecy.  Rumors had the Pirates grabbing Gerrit Cole going #1 by most outlets.  However, Rendon, Hultzen and even Bundy were getting a great deal of hype.

We have prepared below a list of the First Round picks in the 2011 MLB Draft.  We have listed the players by position, school, draft position and team.  We have also provided our analysis and opinions.  Time will tell which players end up justifying their draft positions.  Some players got drafted according to talent skills.  Others according to team needs and even signability played a large part for many.  This was definitely one of the most exciting drafts that I have ever covered.  The amount of talent available played a huge part as did the buzz generated before the draft due to the explosion of the internet and social media.  Compared to the pre-draft predictions and mock drafts, the final results ended up surprising and shocking many.  We definitely look forward to revisiting this draft list over the next few years and analyze which picks worked out and the ones that bombed.  Half of the fun is predicting the draft and the rest is second guessing it.

The Results of the First Round of the 2011 MLB Draft are as follows:

1.  Pittsburgh Pirates:  Gerrit Cole, RHP, UCLA

The consensus top choice of the draft ended up going in the top spot.  The top arm of the draft, teams love drafting big power arms.  With Jameson Taillon, Pittsburgh will have a scary 1-2 punch and will have their future all-star catcher Tony Sanchez to handle the staff.  The Yankees loss in 2008 is the Pirates gain.  Cole can hit 102 mph on the radar gun.  It will be interesting to see who will end up being the better starter between Cole, Hultzen and Bundy.  Cole has battled some command issues this season but the ceiling is very high on this future star.  A solid pick overall.  I would have gone with Rendon but this was a pick that the Pirates almost had to make.

2.  Seattle Mariners:  Danny Hultzen, LHP, Virginia

Widely expected Anthony Rendon starts his drop.  After not going #1, many expected the Mariners to take Rendon.  Hultzen goes up all the way to #2 as the Mariners continue to stock up on pitching.  Hultzen has three strong pitches and had a huge season for Virginia this year.  The kid will look for big bucks and the Mariners will open up their wallet.  The surprises have already begun to start the draft and shows that mock drafts can simply be thrown out the window once the real show begins.  If the goal of teams is to build strong rotations a la the Giants and Rays, then the Mariners are well on their way to building a contender.  King Felix, Prince Pineda and Hultzen should give the Mariners one of the top rotations in the AL West, if not all of baseball one day.  The irony is that the Diamondbacks were picking next and had taken Hultzen out of high school in 2008.  Arizona lost out on him again.

3.  Arizona Diamondbacks:  Trevor Bauer, RHP, UCLA

Many mock drafts got this one correctly.  Only 6’0″, Bauer is drawing Lincecum comparisons.  He may be one of the quicker climbs to the majors and was part of the reason why he was drafted.  Diamondbacks also wanted him and didn’t think he would last until the 7th pick.  So far in the year of the pitcher, all top 3 picks are starters.  As the Rendon drop continues, I see him going no later than #6 to Washington who would love to add another strong bat.

4.  Baltimore Orioles:  Dylan Bundy, RHP, Owasso (Okla.) HS

Four picks.  Four starting pitchers.  Orioles love their young pitchers and Bundy will be a big addition.  Bundy was expected to possibly go as high as #2 and some had him pegged at #1.  He throws 100+ mph and is looking for a big contract.  Joe Bundy, the brother of Dylan is also an Oriole and we may see the brothers on the field together one day.  Known to have a great work ethic and should be a great addition for the Orioles.  Some reports had the Royals hoping that Bundy would fall next to #5 but his potential was too much for the Orioles to pass up on.

5.  Kansas City Royals:  Bubba Starling, OF, Gardner Edgerton (Kan.) HS

This is the case of the local boy who made good.  Starling is considered one of the best athletes in the draft and will excel in his hometown for years to come.  What a scary offense he will form with Myers, Moustakas and Hosmer.  Another multi-sport star, Starling will have to choose between football and baseball.  The hometown advantage should win out and we will see Starling patrolling the Royals outfield one day soon.  A solid pick and even better for the Nationals, who grab the former lock #1 pick going into the season, Anthony Rendon at #6.

6.  Washington Nationals:  Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice

My pick to go first overall, Rendon falls all the way to #6.  Not that the Nationals will complain.  With injury concerns including shoulder, Rendon was seen by many as the top bat of the draft.  I cannot believe that 5 other teams could pass him up and Washington fans should be dancing in the streets.  Washington in 3-4 years will be a huge powerhouse team with the Royals.  Perhaps a World Series matchup one day?

7.  Arizona Diamondbacks (for unsigned 2010 first rounder Barret Loux):  Archie Bradley, RHP, Broken Arrow (Okla.) HS

The year of the pitcher continues.  Another two-sport player, Bradley will also have to pick baseball over football.  A huge price tag and expected to fall into the teens, the Diamondbacks targeted their player and grabbed him.  On a rebuilding team, a solid pick with a high ceiling.

8.  Cleveland Indians:  Francisco Lindor, SS, Montverde (Fla.) Academy

A shortstop with pop, the Indians found the future replacement for Asdrubal Cabrera.  A safe pick, many expected the Indians to go with a starting pitcher here.

9.  Chicago Cubs:  Javier Baez, SS, Jacksonville (Fla.) Arlington Country Day School

Another hugely talented player out of Florida.  A-Rod comparisons anyone?  Baez is seen to have a strong bat.  He may not stay at shortstop but Baez should be a solid bat for a team in dire need of offense.  With Castro entrenched at short, it will be interesting to see where Baez plays on the diamond.

10.  San Diego Padres (for unsigned 2010 first rounder Karsten Whitson):  Cory Spangenberg, 2B, Indian River (Fla.) JC

A versatile player, Spagenberg also plays shortstop and outfield.  The next Chone Figgins or Ben Zobrist?  One of the top athletes of the draft, signability issues had led to experts pegging him as a late first rounder.  Despite failing to sign last year’s pick, the Padres were not afraid to go with another high-risk, high-reward player.  This may be the future center fielder of the Padres, with great defense and plus speed to go along with a solid bat.

11.  Houston Astros:  George Springer, OF, UConn

Great bat speed and huge upside.  There are doubts if the kid will be a superstar but the Astros like him and grabbed him early.  Not sure how well his bat will translate to the majors but has drawn Grady Sizemore comparisons.  A great outfielder who will likely stay in center field, the upside was too high for the Astros to pass up on him.  He will be compared to fellow draftee Bubba Starling and who will become the better player.  I can’t say that I am particularly happy with this selection as Taylor Jungmann should have gone to Houston at this slot.

12.  Milwaukee Brewers:  Taylor Jungmann, RHP, Texas

Jungmann is a 6’6″ pitcher and considered a very advanced pitcher.  I thought he might go in the top-5 and would not fall past Houston.  But the Brewers got lucky and grabbed one of the best pitchers still available at #12.  As a local product, Jungmann was a great fit for Houston.  But as a team that needs to restock its prospects cupboard, the Brewers got one of the “can’t miss” kids.  We may be looking at the future Brewers ace.

13.  New York Mets:  Brandon Nimmo, OF Cheyenne East (Wyo.) HS

The Mets…the Mets….what are they thinking?  He did not play high school ball and was projected by some as a 2nd rounder.  Lots of talents, but the comparisons to Rocco Baldelli do not get me very excited.  High reward and high risk player.  If he does project into a future Andy Van Slyke, the Mets will be pleased.  But for a team in dire need of talent in its system, I would have gone with more certainty.  Playing its home game in a pitcher’s park, I expected a pitcher here.  But as this draft is showing us, you never know what will happen.  Mets fans tomorrow morning will probably be angry in what is shaping as the roughest season in team history.

14.  Florida Marlins:  Jose Fernandez, RHP, Tampa Alonso (Fla.) HS

A local product, Fernandez is 6’4″ and 220 pounds.  The Marlins love their upside pitchers and Fernandez has one of the best arms in the draft.  Concerns over legal issues may have led him to fall and some expected him to go later in the 1st round.  But the Marlins took the best available arm and with the need to sell seats in their new ballpark, Fernandez could not be passed up.  Questions on maturity also dog him and we may be seeing another Matt Garza scenario.  But if Fernandez comes close to matching Garza’s numbers in the majors, the Marlins will be pleased.  A good pick that makes sense.

15.  Milwaukee Brewers (for unsigned 2010 first rounder Dylan Covey):  Jed Bradley, LHP, Georgia Tech

Combined with Jungmann, the Brewers are the big winners thus far.  A very advanced pitcher, Bradley was a top-10 pick for me going into the draft.  The Brewers always have strong scouting and it doesn’t surprise me that they did not pass up on this kid.  Congrats to Milwaukee, well done.

16.  Los Angeles Dodgers:  Chris Reed, LHP, Stanford

A closer at Stanford, Reed is a big boy at 6’4″, 195 lbs.  Reports indicate that he may move to the rotation, although at this point I see him staying in the pen.  A nice pick, I had him going in the 2nd round and not drafted early by the Dodgers.  I suspect signability had a lot to do with this one as the Dodgers do not likely have the money available to go with a high-profile prospect.  I have never approved a selection based on money considerations and thus would label this one as likely a failure in the making.

17.  Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim:  C.J. Cron, 1B, Utah

The Angels were smart with this pick, as they need bats in the system and Cron had one of the biggest bats in the country.  Cron was projected to be a late first-rounder but the Angels did not let him slip.  Cron comes from a baseball family, as his father is a manager at AA and his brother will likely be drafted this year as well.  For a team that usually goes with pitching, I’m impressed that Anaheim broke away from its mold and went with a college bat.  Kudos to the Angels on their choice.

18.  Oakland Athletics:  Sonny Gray, RHP, Vanderbilt

Projected by some as a top-10 selection, the A’s got Gray with the 18th pick.  Great stuff and despite standing at only 5’11”, the Athletics could not pass on his potential.  I think that Gray will end up in the bullpen and Oakland likely sees him as a future closer.  The A’s do not do many things traditionally and they obviously saw enough in Gray to take him in the 1st round.  I am sitting on the fence with this pick but my guts says a strong starter would have better served the team long-term.

19.  Boston Red Sox (from Tigers for Type-A Victor Martinez):  Matt Barnes, RHP, UConn

Another projected top-10 pick, the Red Sox nab Barnes at #19.  At 6’4″ 205 lbs, the Red Sox get themselves a great arm.  Lively stuff with a smooth delivery, Red Sox nation has to be pleased with this choice.  This teams knows how to draft, plain and simple.  Some mock drafts had Barnes as high as #5.  Somehow the Red Sox always seem to walk away with winners from the draft, despite drafting late.  Strong scouting and deep pockets always help.

20.  Colorado Rockies:  Tyler, Anderson, LHP, Oregon

The greatest pitcher in Oregon history, Anderson is seen very close to the majors.  An advanced pitcher that should do really well in Colorado.  After growing up in Vegas, Anderson will be ready for the weather conditions of Colorado.   A relatively safe pick, Anderson went a little higher than I expected.  But with Cron and Barnes off the board, the Rockies went with their next highest rated player.

21.  Toronto Blue Jays:  Tyler Beede, RHP, Groton (Mass.) Lawrence Academy

The Red Sox were hoping to land this kid at #26 but the Jays nabbed the Mass. product early.  I would have gone with Bell or Purke with this pick, but the Jays clearly saw a lot in this kid to make this surprise pick.  Beede is planning to go to Vanderbilt but with a strong offer, he will likely sign.  Theo Epstein is likely not happy after losing out on him, but the Jays should be pleased with their choice.  If they are able to sign him.  With a debate on signability, the Jays went high-risk and high-reward with this pick.

22.  St. Louis Cardinals:  Kolten Wong, 2B, Hawaii

A strong hitter and seen as a good defender, the Cardinals did really well for themselves here.  Kolten Wong was seen as a late first-rounder, with average speed and power.  He will be more of a project, but the Cardinals are seen as getting a kid with good makeup.  It is hard to get many superstars this late, but a good solid second baseman should be seen as a nice selection if he pans out.  Guerrieri, Bell and Swihart are still on the board, as is Purke who would have been higher ceiling picks.  The Cardinals went safe here, but a guaranteed return has value sometimes as well.

23.  Washington Nationals (from White Sox for Type-A Adam Dunn):  Alex Meyer, LHP, Kentucky

Standing 6’9″, the Nationals went for a big time pitcher, literally.  There is a chance that Meyer could be a starter and might be the next Randy Johnson.  Or he could become the next Andrew Brackman or maybe a future closer.  These types of picks are hard to project and Meyer like many tall pitchers will need to find control if he is to succeed in the majors.  Still many good players on the board but after going with the safe Rendon, the Nationals went with the high ceiling project here.  Future hall-of-famer or bust?  We won’t know on Meyer for a few years.

24.  Tampa Bay Rays (from Red Sox for Type-A Carl Crawford):  Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Columbia (S.C.) Spring Valley HS

This was a top-12 pick on many boards, but maturity issues dogged Guerrieri to drop this low.  One of the best arms in the draft, the Rays have done it again.  On pure talent, Guerrieri can compete with almost any pitcher in the draft.  He has a very strong fastball and pitching in the Rays system, he could develop in a hurry.  Clearly makeup did not scare the team and the Rays made a strong selection.  After losing Carl Crawford, the Rays got back a big piece today for their organization.

25.  San Diego Padres:  Joe Ross, RHP, Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O’Dowd HS

The younger brother of Oakland A’s pitcher Tyson Ross, the Padres get a 6’2″, 180 lbs pitcher.  Ross was expected to perhaps go to the A’s or Giants, but he still stays local and goes to San Diego.  Pitching in San Diego, Ross should do very well in a pitcher’s park.  I have read good reports on the kid and he should be a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter.  Nice pick for the Padres.

26.  Boston Red Sox (from Rangers for Type-A Adrian Beltre):  Blake Swihart, C, Rio Rancho (N.M.) Cleveland HS

The Red Sox continue to clean up as they draft the strongest hitting catcher of the draft.  His bat compares to Chase Utley, which is a nice comparison.  The Red Sox were supposed to take Swihart at #19 but were able to nab Barnes and still get their man at #26.  A win-win night for the strong drafting Red Sox.

27.  Cincinnati Reds:  Robert Stephenson, RHP, Martinez CA, Alhambra HS

Stephenson had back-to-back no-hitters in high-school and was seen as going to the Giants possibly at #29.  This kid has huge upside and for a team that drafts exceptionally every year, the Reds have likely found themselves another winner.  Especially if the Giants were looking at him as a possible choice, Stephenson will be a prospect to keep an eye on.

28.  Atlanta Braves:   Sean Gilmartin, LHP, Florida State

The Braves grab a college lefty late in the draft and they have gone with a more ready arm in Gilmartin.  Considered a safe pick, the Braves went with a winner with a good selection of pitches and fluid delivery.  Gilmartin continues the trend of the “pitcher’s draft”.

29.  San Francisco Giants:  Joe Panik, SS, St. John’s

A New York native, Derek Jeter is his favorite player.  Not on many boards, the Giants went a little high on Panik.  Did they “Panik” with this pick?  Yes.  With such deep pitching, the Giants had to get some bats into their system.  A player who is seen as very intense and playing the game the right way, Panik could be a decent bat, strong glove for the Giants.  But since he would have likely been there for them in the 2nd round, I think they reached early.  I would have gone for Bell or Purke and taken my chances with a risky signing with this pick and having a higher ceiling.

30.  Minnesota Twins:  Levi Michael, SS, North Carolina

A switch-hitting shortstop, not a bad pick for the Twins.  Some experts had him in the early 20s, but playing hurt his numbers were average.  Michael plays hard and is seen as a solid defender.  A Twins-type player according to Gammons, we could be looked at the future shortstop of the Twins.  While Michael does not have much power, he should hit for average and should be a good gritty ballplayer.  Personally, I still like the higher upside players but with budgetary concerns, the Twins like safer type picks that are signable.  Michael fits the bill.

31.  Tampa Bay Rays (from Yankeesfor Type-A Rafael Soriano):  Mikie Mahtook, OF, LSU

A top-15 pick who falls to #31, the Rays nab a fairly strong prospect.  A really strong defender, Mahtook will be a great center fielder.  He can hit for average, some power and will steal many bases.  Many experts will be happy with this pick and with a strong scouting staff, the Rays grabbed themselves another good one.  A hard worker with lots of talent, we could see the next Carl Crawford here.  The Brewers, Red Sox, Nationals and Rays are my big winners thus far.

32.  Tampa Bay Rays:  Jake Hager, SS, Sierra Vista HS (NV)

The Rays go with a project here but with 3 picks in the 1st round, they could afford to take an easy sign with tools.  As more of a late 2nd round type selection, this pick was financially driven and not my preference.  With stronger players on the board, I would have liked to see the Rays to go for more of a proven commodity.

33.  Texas Rangers (from Phillies for Type-A Cliff Lee):  Kevin Matthews, LHP, Richmond Hill HS (GA)

The Rangers go with pitching with the last pick of the 1st round.  He is apparently destined to go to Virginia but the Rangers went for the high-risk, high-reward pick.  The Rangers have all of a sudden becoming a breeding ground for pitching and Matthews fits the mold of what Texas looks for in a pitcher.  Signability aside, Matthews is an extremely talented pitcher and will be a huge success if signed by the team.  Otherwise, with the last pick of the first round, the Rangers were not taking a huge chance but tried to score big.

Still sitting on the board at this point were expected first round picks Larry Greene, Daniel Norris, Josh Bell, Matt Purke and Henry Owens.  It goes to show you that no matter how well we try to project these drafts, surprises will always result.  For curiosity, check out our recent articles in the past few days on the draft and see how our inside scouts did.  You might be surprised.  While it takes skill and knowledge to try to predict these drafts, it is far from an exact science.  But when projections do turn into reality, it is always a great feeling. 

Updating the 2011 MLB Draft:  Baseball Prospects and Draft Projections

The 2011 MLB Draft: The Report and Inside Scoops

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